Learning how to get toddler to tell you when they need to potty can sometimes be a little frustrating. You want to help support their development as much as possible and patience is essential.
Potty training is an essential part of a toddlers developmental milestones but the challenge that most parents face is that some toddlers just take longer to generate a lasting habit while others take to it almost immediately.
You have to strike a balance on being supportive and understanding but also firm and structured t ensure that a positive habit is formed.
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The most important part of potty training is to create a safe and problem-free environment that your toddler can feel comfortable in. This will allow them to feel like that can make mistakes, have accidents and ask questions without feeling bad.
If they are being rushed, judged or scalding for having small accidents around the house, it can be very pressuring for them to learn how to get it right.
Learning how to get toddler to tell you when they need to potty is just as hard. You will need to be patient as they are going through different developmental changes.
For example, your child may understand what the potty is for but may not have the correct vocabulary to explain to you that that need to go.
Often times it is too late and your toddler will have an accident before they get a chance to tell you the need to go. They are still figuring out their body and how it works so again, patience is key.
In this all-inclusive article, we’ll explain how to get toddler to tell you when they need to potty, what to do if you child refuses to urinate, how to get toddler to relax on potty and age-specific potty training so that you can breathe easy again.
Potty training doesn’t have to be hard, but you must never rush your child into using the potty before they are ready.
This can lead to potty training poop anxiety and a toddler afraid to poop in potty.
Is my child ready to potty train?
Here are 5 questions to ask to ensure your child is ready for potty training:
- Do they stop in their tracks, mid-play, and go and hideaway, behind a door or under a table each time they go in their nappy? IF so, they are probably ready to be potty trained.
- Do they have around a 1-hour gap between wetting and soloing their nappy? If so it could mean potty training time.
- Are they intrigued about a potty, interested in it and try to sit on it after you explain what it’s for? Yep, you guessed it, they are ready to be potty trained!
- Can they understand basic commands like, potty time, pull trousers down, time to go pee-pee? Then you should start slowly potty training.
- Are they more vocal about dirty nappies? If they routinely say, diaper dirty, or nappy change etc then it may be time to start thinking about potty training.
How To Get Toddler To Tell You When They Need To Potty
1. Give them lots to drink!
A healthy bladder will make potty training 10 times easier. Give your toddler lots of water to drink (around 6 – 8 cups a day) and try to avoid sugary drinks or those with caffeine in them. The bladder needs to be filled correctly and then emptied for it to work efficiently.
2. Make sure they are not constipated
Your toddler should be doing a poo around 4 to 5 times a week or more and the poo should be relatively soft and easy to release. If your toddler is going fewer times or they are suffering from highly runny and liquid-based poo’s then try to wait until constipation passes before you being potty training.
3. Get them to pick their potty.
Most toddlers will have a favourite colour or can choose between the items they like and the ones they don’t. Get them involved with the potty making decision so they feel apart of the process.
Plus you can use this small leverage point when asking them to get and sit on their potty for longer. For example, “Sweetie, can you get your pink flowery potty and put it in the bathroom, it’s time to use the potty!”
4. Set a routine and stick to it
Try to have “potty time” every few hours and don’t ask them if they need to use the potty too often. Most toddlers, especially those that are younger, are still unable to express whether they need to go potty or don’t.
Instead, stick to a structured routine, and then just mention that it’s “toilet time”. You can even go with them, if the potty is in the bathroom, just show them how to do it. But this should only be done the first few times for moral support.
5. Shorter is better
When learning how to get toddler to tell you when they need to potty try to keep the potty time to a few minutes and don’t allow your little one to stay on the potty for too long.
It’s counterproductive for them to sit down for too long as you are trying to encourage going to the potty when the feel the urge to.
Instead, give them a short period for potty time and if they do or don’t go that’s fine, just tell them to try again a bit later. No rush!
6. Praise & More Praise
Going to the potty is a big deal. Not just the first time, but also every time.
Try to be as celebratory as you can and give lots of rewards for successful potty time. Stickers on a reward chart are a perfect example of this.
It’s the cornerstone of parenting and with potty training, you’ll certainly be tested plenty! There will be lots of accidents and you have to be as supportive as you can.
That means being “happy” that they have tried to use the potty but missed and cleaning it up in the middle of the night!
8. Developmental milestones
This is a great milestone for them to achieve but it also can take along time. They are learning how to open and close their bladder on demand and how to use this muscle to hold wee and poo. That’s no easy tasks, so make sure you show some empathy when the going gets rough (and it will get rough!!)
9. Don’t forget toilet hygiene
Potty training is the goal but toilet hygiene is just as important. Once they have finished remind them to wash and dry their hands. They may want to look inside the potty to see what it all looks like and that is fine.
Sometimes they will try to go potty and nothing will come out so by letting them see the final results they’ll start to piece together the puzzle and understand what feelings are attributed to successful going pee and poo.
Potty Training Poop Anxiety
If your toddler is still showing potty training poop anxiety then there are a few more in-depth strategies you can try. Remember your role is to act as supportive about the entire process as possible.
Even if you are anxious or frustrated by how long potty training is taking try not to show it. Toddlers will go in and out of potty training for weeks and sometimes months, they can even regress back.
It’s all al learning curve and eventually, they will get the hang of it.